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E3 Classic

Bini was among the best, but got caught by the cold

The Flemish classics follow each other faster and faster, also for Intermarché-Wanty. In ten days time, the Walloon team will be at the start of four Belgian classics of WorldTour level, starting with a long weekend composed of the E3 Saxo Classic this Friday, on March 22nd, followed by Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday, March 24th.

Just over a week before the Tour of Flanders, the E3 Saxo Classic will be ridden on a course of 207 kilometers with start and finish in Harelbeke similar to the Monument. This year, among the seventeen climbs and six cobblestone sections, there is again the well-known combination of the Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont in the last hour of the race.

Biniam Girmay, fifth in his first participation in 2022, can rely on the support of Hugo Page, who recently showed himself on the cobbles of the Grand Prix de Denain with a fifth place. Vito Braet and Georg Zimmermann, who already finished at least one time on the podium this season, will make their debut. Dries De Pooter, Dion Smith and Gijs Van Hoecke complete the selection led by Aike Visbeek, Dimitri Claeys and Sébastien Demarbaix.

Since the death of Antoine Demoitié during Gent-Wevelgem in 2016, the race has been extra special for Intermarché-Wanty. It was in the same race, six years later, that Biniam Girmay became the first African to win a major Flemish classic. The Eritrean rider was among the best in the Moeren and Heuvelland, with a triple passage on the Kemmelberg before winning the sprint in Wevelgem. The race starts in Ypres, just like in recent years.

“Like the entire cycling world, we are looking forward to the Holy Flemish Cycling Week with great interest. Ghent-Wevelgem will always be special for our team, because of all the different emotions we have experienced in this race in recent years. Moreover, it is a classic for which we have a lot of qualities and I think the chances of our team are high. That is why we have chosen to line up several key elements, such as Laurenz Rex and Mike Teunissen, with fresh legs alongside our former winner Biniam Girmay. It looks like the wind will play a major role this Sunday, so we can expect a hard race. In that respect, I expect that our riders can continue the good trend of Bredene-Koksijde. I'm looking forward to the debut of Madis Mihkels, he makes a strong impression since the beginning of the season.

Two days before that, we will surround Biniam Girmay with another interesting selection in the E3 Classic. Georg Zimmermann will receive a free role for his debut. Last winter we considered letting him discover the Flemish Ardennes in this E3 Classic, because we believe that with his big engine and capabilities on an explosive terrain he has the ideal profile for such a tough race with a particularly long finale. We have prepared him as good as possible for this challenge by inviting him for the course recon with our classics team in November. We are very curious about what this first introduction can bring for him and for our team. In the E3 Classic, positioning before every climb is crucial and for this we can rely on the experience of Gijs Van Hoecke and Dion Smith. Vito Braet and Hugo Page will be tasked to support Biniam later in the race, I am curious to see how far they can get in the final.”

General Classification


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